As you may have already noticed, that lithium-ion batteries are commonly used in the appliances that satisfy our daily life needs, such as tablets, laptops, cell phones, E-bikes, E-scooters, power tool, and etc. And these batteries are increasingly popular because of their high specific energy. However, there’re various types of lithium-ion batteries on the market and each type of lithium-ion battery constitutes different elements. Thus, the features and performance are also different from one another.
If you want to learn more about the information about lithium-ion batteries, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, six different types of lithium-ion batteries are explained. After reading them you’ll be able to differentiate them on the basis of specific energy, power, cost, safety, and lifespan.
So, let’s stop wasting time and move straight into the article.
What Is A Lithium-ion Battery?
A lithium-ion battery is a rechargeable lithium battery that depends upon lithium ions flowing between negative and positive electrodes. There are two mechanisms that are involved in the working of the lithium-ion battery.
The first is charging and the other is the discharging process. During the charging phase, lithium ions flow from the positive electrode of the battery to the negative electrode. While in the case of discharging the flow of ions is reversed.
The movement of these ions creates a potential difference (voltage). Hence, when the device is connected to the battery the electrons pass to it and power your device.
What Are The 6 Types of Lithium-ion Batteries?
Lithium-ion batteries come in a variety of features, shapes, and sizes. Below are the 6 types of lithium-ion batteries, explained along with their features and applications. Let’s have a look at them!
Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LiCoO2) — LCO
Lithium Cobalt Oxide battery is manufactured using cobalt and lithium carbonate. In these batteries, cobalt oxide acts as a cathode while graphite carbon acts as an anode. The cathode consists of a layered structure and during charge, lithium ions flow from cathode to anode. However, the flow reverses in case of discharge.
Lithium cobalt oxide batteries are ideal for laptops, digital cameras, mobile phones, and some other small portable electronics.
The key feature of lithium cobalt oxide batteries is that they possess high specific energy. This makes them offer power for a long period even under low-load applications.
In addition to the benefits of LCO, they also have some drawbacks which are listed below:
● These batteries have a short lifespan as compared to other types of lithium-ion batteries.
● They have low thermal stability which makes them unsafe for use.
● Due to high specific energy, they cannot perform well under high load applications.
● LCO batteries are not cost-effective according to their performance.
Lithium Cobalt Oxide batteries are not as effective as compared to other types of lithium-ion batteries.
Lithium Manganese Oxide (LiMn2O4) — LMO
In Lithium Manganese Oxide batteries, lithium manganese oxide acts as the cathode material. This compound provides a three-dimensional structure that is responsible for better ion flow. Also, this structure aids in lowering the internal resistance, thus the ability of current handling increases.
LMO batteries are majorly used in medical instruments and many cordless portable power tools. Additionally, some hybrid and electric vehicles also use these batteries.
The lithium manganese battery is much better in performance than the lithium cobalt oxide battery. Following are the plus points of an LMO battery:
● These batteries provide relatively high specific power and charge quickly.
● They have better thermal stability which means that they can safely operate at higher temperatures.
● LMO batteries are pretty flexible as they can handle high load applications.
● They are low in cost.
The major drawback of lithium manganese batteries is their shorter life span. Generally, the last 300 to 700 charge cycles which are lesser than many types of lithium-ion batteries.
We may conclude that lithium manganese batteries offer moderate performance as compared to other lithium-ion batteries.
Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) — LFP
Lithium iron phosphate batteries use graphitic carbon electrodes as the anode and phosphate electrodes act as cathode. The crystal structure of lithium iron phosphate batteries ensures safety.
Moreover, LFP batteries are applicable to portable applications that need high load currents and endurance.
LFP batteries have the following benefits:
● They have a longer lifespan as they last 2000 or more charge cycles.
● The materials used in these batteries provide low resistance. So they are pretty stable and safe.
● LFP batteries offer 80 to 100% discharging without causing any damage.
Besides the benefits, LFP batteries also have some downsides which are as follows:
● These batteries have a relatively low specific energy.
● They don’t perform well at lower temperatures.
Therefore, LiFePO4 batteries are not that suitable for high cranking applications.
Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (LiNiMnCoO2) — NMC
Lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide battery is made up of a combination of three elements, nickel, manganese, and cobalt. These three combined elements act as the cathode of NMC batteries. Nickel is present in high proportion, i.e, 60% while, manganese and cobalt constitute 20%.
Nickel has high specific energy yet is not that stable. On the other hand, manganese is stable enough but possesses low specific energy. Ultimately, the collective effect of these elements results in high specific energy.
While talking about the applications of NMC batteries, they are much similar to LMO batteries. These batteries are perfect for power tools, some electric vehicles, scooters, and e-bikes.
● NMC batteries offer a longer lifespan at a lower cost as compared to cobalt-based batteries.
● They are also safer due to higher thermal stability.
● The main demerit of the NMC battery is that it has a comparatively lower voltage than cobalt-based batteries.
Lithium Titanate (Li2TiO3) — LTO
At last, lithium titanate is the type of lithium-ion battery that uses lithium manganate as a positive electrode. These batteries have zero strain, and no lithium plating during fast and low-temperature charging. This results in remarkable charge-discharge performance.
Lithium titanate batteries are often used in military and aerospace applications. Moreover, these are also used in solar energy, for storing wind and creating smart grids.
● The major advantage of lithium titanate batteries is that they feature super-fast recharge time.
● The cycle times are higher and are pretty safe to use.
● They have low inherent voltage.
Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide (LiNiCoAlO2) — NCA
The positive electrode of NCA-based lithium-ion batteries comprises nickel, cobalt, and aluminium. The addition of aluminium in these types of lithium-ion batteries offers excellent chemical stability. Moreover, these batteries feature remarkable high energy density.
Lithium nickel cobalt aluminium oxide batteries are ideal for electric vehicles, and industrial devices. Mainly, Tesla prefers NCA batteries for their EV powertrains.
● The high-power density of NCA batteries makes them pretty durable.
The only drawbacks of these batteries are as follows;
● NCA batteries are quite expensive.
● They are not very safe.
Generally, NCA batteries are considered favorable for the automobile industry rather than consumer electronics.
Which Type of Lithium-ion Battery is Best for me?
It’s you and your demands who decide the best. You just need to consider your requirements and a few crucial aspects of a lithium-ion battery.
The key points to remember are including voltage, energy storage, durability, operating temperature, charging rate, and safety of the battery. You may check out all these characteristics in all types of the best lithium-ion batteries and get the most appropriate for you.
If you want a battery for a large plant, go with a high voltage battery. Similarly, if you are looking for a compact battery, make sure to choose a high-density battery. Moreover, make sure to go with a safety-proven battery for public place applications.
The Best Places to Buy Lithium Batteries
Nowadays, many manufacturers are developing lithium batteries to meet their emerging demand. Different brands are known for their various particularities. You need to survey some lithium battery suppliers before making a purchase.
In this regard, several worldwide factories are well-known. The top 5 of these li-ion battery manufacturers are listed below.
● CATL (China)
● LG Chem ( South Korea)
● Panasonic Corporation (Japan)
● Samsung SDI (South Korea)
● SK Innovation (South Korea)
● Tesla (US)
Now it’s your choice to get the best battery for your requirements from one of the above-mentioned plants.
If you are searching for the top lithium battery manufacturers in China, the below-mentioned list would help you to decide on the top 3 Chinese lithium battery manufacturers.
● BYD Company
● Etekware Battery
FAQs about Lithium-ion Batteries
Which lithium-ion battery is the best?
Various types of lithium-ion batteries are available in the market. Each of them has different applications and different power capacities. So, finding one that perfectly fits your needs is a difficult task. However, by looking at the following features, you can choose the best lithium battery:
● Greater Energy to weight ratio
● High open-circuit voltage
● No effect on the memory
● Low battery charge rate when not in use
Do all types of batteries use lithium?
The best energy production batteries are considered to be lithium-based due to their lithium-ion lifespan. But, it doesn’t mean that all types of batteries contain lithium in them. Some other chemicals can replace lithium cells. For instance, the graphene aluminium-ion battery cell can be 60 times faster than the commonly known lithium-ion batteries. Moreover, magnesium, fuel cells, seawater, and liquid batteries can also be used in place of lithium.
Are all lithium batteries rechargeable?
Since all batteries contain lithium as the manufacturing material, people assume that all lithium-ion battery types are rechargeable, which in fact is not true.
The reason is that all the rechargeable batteries are not lithium-based. There are many other options available in the market which can replace lithium. Some of them are enlisted below:
● Nickel-Metal Hydride
● Nickel-Zinc (NiZn)
● Nickel Cadmium (NiCd)
● Rechargeable alkalines (RAM)
Are lithium-ion batteries safe?
Generally, Li-ion batteries are safe. But they can cause fires and even explore if used or managed incorrectly. So it’s important to learn how to safely store lithium-ion battery and reduce the risk of fire or explosion.
Why are lithium batteries so expensive?
Most batteries use lithium-ion cells in their composition. Lithium batteries are quite popular and different industries and automobile manufacturers use these batteries for proper working. But why are they so expensive?
Enlisted below are the main reasons that lead to its increasing price:
● Its limited availability on Earth
● Due to the expensive metal used in it
● Long life span and advanced technology
Lithium-ion vs. lithium polymer
While most people find it confusing to choose between lithium-ion and lithium polymer. However, by looking at the specifications, you’ll find out which one is better. While lithium-ion uses a liquid electrolyte, the lithium polymer is made up of a solid, gel-like electrolyte. Hence, due to the long lifespan and several other unique properties, lithium-ion batteries are preferred over polymers.
Lithium-iron phosphate vs. lithium-ion
There are significant differences that distinguish the two batteries. But, the most important one is the higher energy density of lithium-ion battery cells. With more than 150 Wh per kg, lithium-ion batteries dominate over lithium-iron-phosphate. Not only this, but lithium cells are also better than phosphate due to their strong and full-proof security. To learn the full differences between these two batteries, read LiFePO4 vs lithium-ion batteries comparison to find out more.
Lithium metal battery vs. lithium-ion battery
Different kinds of batteries are present in the lithium market. But, you have to look for the details to choose the best. Similarly, lithium metal batteries are prioritised over lithium-ion batteries due to their high charge capacity and more energy production.
Lead-acid battery vs. lithium-ion batteries
Do you know the best lithium-ion batteries have high charge capacity and store more energy than lead-acid batteries? Due to this reason, they are distinct from lead-acid cells and are also 95% more efficient. On the other hand, the efficiency level of lead-acid batteries is between 80 to 85%. To read the full differences between these two batteries, read lithium-ion vs lead-acid batteries comparison to find out more.
Now you should be able to know more about what these different types of lithium batteries are, and what they can be used for. Lithium-ion batteries have large energy capacity, and are highly effective and safe, which is one of the reasons why li-ion batteries are widely used in almost all manufacturing and automobile industries. To help you better In the end, I hope this article will be helpful to you and if you have any questions about lithium batteries, let me know in the comments!